Melanoma is the third most common skin cancer with over a million people estimated to be living with this cancer today. Approximately one person dies every hour in our country from this skin cancer. Melanoma rates in the United States have doubled from 1988 to 2019, and worldwide, the number of melanoma diagnoses are expected to increase by more than 50% by 2040.
ADDING FOTOFINDER TECHNOLOGY HAS SHOWN TO HELP IDENTIFY MELANOMA AND ATYPICAL MOLES EARLIER.
As with most cancer’s, early detection is key. Especially with melanoma. Studies have shown Total Body Mole Mapping with Digital Dermoscopy identifies melanoma earlier than examination alone.
The majority of melanomas can be treated with excision. Treatment recommendations are based on the latest NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) and AAD guidelines.
When detected in its earliest stages, melanoma is highly treatable. The average five-year survival rate for individuals whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 99%.
Early detection is essential. We recommend regular self-examinations of the skin to detect changes in its appearance. Changing, suspicious or unusual moles or blemishes should be examined as soon as possible.
Approximately 71% of melanomas develop within an existing mole, perhaps one you’ve had for years. 29% present as a new spot.
ATBM Total Body Mole Mapping aids in detecting subtle changes in existing moles with routine scans. Typically once a year is recommended. Your provider at Highlander will review if you‘re a candidate for this advanced surveillance.
All the providers at Highlander offer and perform cancer screenings with full body examination. A baseline ‘skin-check’ is necessary to make individual recommendations as to how often a person needs a skin exam. This is based on individual risk factors, including skin type, history of sun exposure, and family history.
Melanoma affects all skin types and ages. Excessive sun exposure and tanning bed use (even if when you were younger) increases your risk for skin cancer.
Using tanning beds before age 20 can increase your chances of developing melanoma by 47%, and the risk increases with each use.
Experiencing five or more blistering sunburns between ages 15 and 20 increases one's melanoma risk by 80 percent.
Your risk is also increased if you:
Unfortunately, melanoma can happen almost anywhere on the body. This is one reason we are strong proponents of full-body skin exams since skin cancer doesn’t only target the areas that have been exposed to the sun.
If you notice a new mole, a mole different from others on your skin, or one that changes, itches or bleeds, have it evaluated as soon as you are able.
If the mole is asymmetric, meaning one half does not look like the other half.
Does it have an uneven border? Most benign moles have a border that is fairly even and defined all the way around. If the border of your mole is uneven, especially if it looks notched around the edges, it may be time to have it looked into.
Multiple shades of tan, brown or black within a mole as well as loss of color is a sign that a mole could be changing into cancer.
Normal moles typically are one color and resemble the color of your other moles. An outlier mole that is very dark, unlike your other moles, needs evaluation.
Most melanomas are larger than 6mm (size of a pencil head eraser). More importantly is if there is a change in your mole.